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Spring into summer with 3 cocktail & canapé combos

May 6, 2017

While devilled eggs and cucumber sandwiches flourish across spreads at springtime festivities, we thought perhaps a tasty shake-up of the norm was in order for your gatherings this spring/summer season. Celebrate the much-welcomed return of warmer weather with these inventive cocktail & canapé combos that are sure to surprise even your most sophisticated guests, and please the palates of the rest.

Watercress Mushroom Buttons

In these bite-sized beauties, the nutty, earthy tones of roasted chestnut mushrooms blend eloquently with the refreshing crunch of fresh watercress and the richness of cream cheese.

Select a pack of chestnut mushrooms of a uniform size that would be comfortably devoured in one bite (the watercress can make for messy eating if multiple bites are required). Carefully pull off the stems and gently carve a small hollow into the fanned underside of each mushroom.

Toss them with olive oil and a touch of sea salt. Place the mushrooms in a shallow pan and roast them at 220C for five minutes – or as long as it takes for them to start to soften without shrinking too much.

After they have cooled, fill each indentation with a twirl of watercress and then top with a weighty dollop of cream cheese. Crack fresh pepper on top and plate carefully!

Balance with a chilled Bloody Maria Chupito
Get a little spicy with this take on the classic brunch cocktail. Instead of vodka, add tequila to your favourite Bloody Mary recipe. Pour the mix into chilled shot glasses and then place in the freezer for several minutes prior to serving. These small drinks act as amuse-bouches with a bit of a kick. You can also hold off on the tequila for a tasty mocktail version.

Mandarin Chicken Salad Crostini

Decadent chicken salad studded with moreish almond slivers and buoyed by the citrus zing of mandarin meets the elegant crunch of grilled bread in this appealing appetiser.

For the salad, mix poached chicken breast with a few tablespoons of mayonnaise, cracked pepper, a pinch of sage, and a cup of sliced almonds. For the crostini, cut a baguette into slices about half an inch in thickness, brush them with olive oil, sprinkle a bit of sea salt, then grill them until crisp and golden.

Once your crostini have cooled, lay them out in uniform rows on a square serving plate, top them with a spoonful of chicken salad and adorn each with a bright segment of mandarin.

Pair with a Caribbean Ginger Fizz
The bold, piquant flavours of ginger work wonderfully with this canapé and bring a touch of the tropics to any cocktail party. Cut the skin from a bulb of fresh ginger, slice it into coin-shaped pieces and then muddle with a pestle and mortar. Add sugar as you go to create a sweet, spicy ginger paste. Fill a shaker with ice, one part Caribbean rum and one part pineapple juice, and shake with gusto. Pour into a tall glass, top with one part sparkling water, and stir gently. Garnish with a spear of fresh ginger.

Rosemary Melon Gin Punch

The delightful sweetness and light chartreuse hues of frozen honeydew melon balls make this bubbly cocktail both pleasing to the eye and refreshing to the palate.

With the small end of a melon baller, scoop out spheres of honeydew melon onto a baking sheet. Cover liberally with cling film to seal it from any intruding flavours and place in the freezer. After they freeze completely, fill a punch bowl with the lovely round melon “ice cubes”.

Top with a third part of gin, then one part elderflower fizz and one part sparkling wine. In a separate bowl, crush a sprig of fresh rosemary and then whisk it with lemon juice and honey to taste. Pour this into your punch bowl and stir vigorously. Garnish each cup with a few vibrantly red raspberries and a jaunty sprig of rosemary.

Serve with chicory spears with Stilton and candied walnuts
For a simple, timeless canapé, contrast the juicy bitterness of chicory with the creamy pungency of Stilton and the sweet crunch of candied walnuts. Cut the base of each head of chicory and then peel off the outer leaves. Arrange the tender inner leaves in a pleasing array and then sprinkle generously with the creamiest Stilton you can find and top each one with several rich candied walnuts.

Jack O'RiordanView all posts

    Jack is the editor of The Leisure Lounge. Expert in the art of writing things and putting them online. Loves travelling, especially anywhere in southeast Asia. Hates mushrooms.